January 24, 2012

Dancing With Death Part IV

Zelda was clinging to the wall at the back of the stands. All thoughts of Sheik were gone. Ganon had returned to terrorize her, and she had been too afraid to use her newfound power. The monstrous creature from her nightmares had returned, to destroy half the arena. He had burned away the walls of the arena, mindlessly destroying whatever he came in contact with. But he was gone again... like a bad dream. She tried to come to grips with what had happened. She knew who she was again... for once, she had no need to retreat inside her mind.

Something puzzled her though. The crowd was still hushed, even though Ganon had been destroyed. She looked down to see what had their attention. Magus was lying down, bleeding in the center of the arena, while Link lay motionless. Pangs of guilt washed over Zelda. She ran down the steps of the stadium and leaped into the arena. The motion was easier than she had expected. She was still dressed up as Sheik.

She ran over to Magus first. The magician's accomplishment had been incredible... she had only believed Link to be capable of fighting Ganon. Clearly, outside her world, there were other powerful forces as well. She kneeled down next to the battered wizard and rested one hand on his chest, feeling the wounds.

Magus turned his head and spoke to her in a raspy voice. "You should attend to your boyfriend first. Your efforts would be better spent there."

"Hush..." Zelda whispered.

Healing light poured out of her hands, filling Magus's body. She held back the flow of blood from his chest and tried to seal the wounds... but the damage was simply too great. The dark energies both fighters had wielded didn't make it any easier either. Magus groaned as Zelda continued her efforts to repair his battered body. Her own power was not enough, even with the Triforce of Wisdom. Reluctantly, Zelda began drawing on another power that rested within her... that of the Chaos Emerald.

She began to feel a little lightheaded as the power rushed through her. The healing energy she was exerting began flooding out of her hands. The three holes in Magus's chest gradually sealed themselves up, and the purifying energy raced through his veins. Zelda had to make an effort to control herself as she began letting up on her power. Magus was still exhausted and lying flat on his back, but his visible wounds were healed. There was nothing more she could do for him.

Zelda ran over to Link while she still had her wits about her and let her energies pour over Link. His bruises began to vanish, and he stood up opening his eyes wide. But he wasn't even looking at her, his gaze was in the direction of Magus.

Zelda turned, and beyond the blue haired wizard, saw three triangles spinning in the air. "The Triforce of Power..." she whispered.

Link immediately stood up straight and rushed forward. The Triforce flew up into the air, centered between Link, Zelda, and Magus.

The Triforce faced towards Link. Though no words were spoken... the two seemed to be communicating somehow.

What do you believe about power?

Power belongs to those with the courage and confidence to use it. It is the right of the strong to protect and oversee the weak. The powerful let nothing stand in their way.

Zelda was puzzled, the Triforce was just hovering in the air, it seemed to be evaluating Link.

Your words belie your intentions. Your spirit is slipping into shadow. Having more power cannot save you from that fate. You must look to yourself, champion of courage.

The Triforce turned to face her. Zelda felt her spirit tug, reaching out for the magical force. It was if the Triforce spoke to her very soul.

What do you believe about power?

Power is necessary for protection. Without power, I am helpless. With power, I have control. Power is the right of those with the wisdom to use it properly.

Zelda felt a pang of loss as the Triforce began to turn away.

You are lost in the power you possess already. Your motives are clouded. You must regain yourself before you can hope to wield power properly. Know thyself, champion of wisdom.

The Triforce spun slowly, and faced Magus. The magician was still motionless, lying on the ground without a word. Zelda hoped desperately that he was still alive.

What do you believe about power?

Power corrupts. Power destroys. The desire for power ruined my kingdom and destroyed my life. The weak strive to be weaker and yield control of their lives to someone else, while the strong strive only to increase their strength. The cycle has destroyed as many empires as it has individuals. Power as an end in itself is pointless. Power distorts life and serves its own ends. I wish I had never heard of power.

Zelda watched in amazement as the Triforce began to descend upon Magus.

Your embittered spirit speaks more truth than you may know, champion of self. You defeated the past bearer of this artifact. You have shown yourself able to wield and to oppose power. You have been judged worthy. May you wield your power with courage and wisdom.

The Triforce of Power landed on Magus's chest and entered his body. Life and energy seemed to flow into Magus. Magus leaned forward, looking around dazed. Picking up his scythe, Magus raised himself up from the ground.

He looked around confused. His wounds were healed. He saw Zelda staring at him, and nodded with understanding.

"Thank you."

Zelda said nothing, but merely gaped at him. Did he even understand what had just happened to him? Did anyone, aside from her and Link?

The crowd erupted in applause. Link's applause had been loud, invasive to a degree... this was deafening. A chant of "Magus... Magus.... MAGUS!" rose from the stands.

Magus looked around, and nodded at the crowd. He slowly stalked out of the arena, his cape flowing silently behind him. The crowd roared and clapped with enthusiasm bordering on hero worship. They had gone from excitement, to abject terror-fearing for their lives. Their concern for their own lives had turned into a worry for Magus's, and it ended with triumph. Magus had beaten the king of evil. Even the other contestants were clapping enthusiastically.

Link glared up at the stands, seemingly resentful of the attention Magus was receiving. For some reason, Zelda didn't feel comfortable talking to him right then about what she had seen. Slipping into the persona of Sheik, she stealthily glided out of the arena, to where she could be alone again.

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